According to the latest statistics, provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) more than 1/3 of American adults have high levels of LDL or the so-called “bad cholesterol”. High level of LDL cholesterol is known by the name hypercholesterolemia. High levels of LDL cholesterol can be the main reason for cardiovascular problems – heart disease and heart attacks.
There are 3 different types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein – LDL
- Very-low-density lipoprotein – VLDL
- High-density lipoprotein – HDL
The LDL and VLDL are bad for you and your health, while HDL is the good one. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, male or female – all people can have high cholesterol. There are some factors and causes, that put you at a higher risk, such as: excessive smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, large waist circumference, hypothyroidism and diabetes. The good thing is that you can control these factors. And the bad thing is that there are some factors that you can’t control, like genetics. This risk factor is beyond your control.
Well, the worst thing about this health condition is that it doesn’t present any early signs or symptoms. This is why you need to get your cholesterol levels checked from time to time. Because, if it’s not controlled on time, high cholesterol can lead to health complications: chest pain, heart attack and evens stroke. The laboratory tests will measure your total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, along with triglycerides. The Center for Disease Control defines the following blood cholesterol levels as healthy:
- HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
Fortunately, there are ways that can help you control your cholesterol levels. You need to make some changes in your diet and your lifestyle. There are some foods that can help you keep your cholesterol at normal levels.
Top 10 Superfoods to Lower Cholesterol
You should have a bowl of oatmeal every morning. This super healthy food is packed with healthy nutrients and it’s very useful for lowering your high cholesterol levels. Oatmeal contains high amounts of soluble fiber, which helps to lower the LDL cholesterol and it reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your blood stream. Fiber is also very good because it loads you up quickly and you can avoid mindless eating. A recent study has discovered that eating oats every day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. This is why you should eat bowl of oatmeal every day, for breakfast, or just add oats to your favorite smoothies or baked goods.
Almonds contain high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and fiber. These 3 compounds help to raise the good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL). A recent study, published in the Nutrition Review, has discovered that consumption of tree nuts like almonds can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by 3 to 19%. Reducing the bad cholesterol was a primary target for coronary disease prevention. Another (more recent) study, published in the Journal of American Heart Association, in 2015, has found that daily almond consumption may be a simple dietary strategy to prevent the onset of cardio metabolic diseases.
You can use almonds for everything – add them to your favorite cereal, yogurt or salads. You should eat a handful of almonds a day and remember – moderation is extremely important. You can also eat other nuts and seeds as well, because they are also beneficial for reducing the high cholesterol levels.
- Orange Juice
This delicious super-fruit is also very useful in reducing high cholesterol levels. A study, published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition Journal, has discovered that orange juice can improve the blood lipid profiles in people who have hypercholesterolemia. This is mainly because oranges are loaded with Vitamin C, folate and flavonoids (hesperidin). Make sure you drink at least 2-3 cups of orange juice every day. Your best option is freshly squeezed orange juice, or you can also drink plant sterol-fortified orange juice. The phytosterol can also help you lower the LDL cholesterol levels. If you don’t have blender or a juicer, you can eat few oranges a day.
Salmon contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, called EPA and DHA. These fatty acids provide extra protection against high cholesterol levels. The omega-3 fatty acids boost the HDL cholesterol and reduce the number of triglycerides in your blood stream. Salmon contains low amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. You should eat at least 2 servings of salmon, every week. Your best option would be baked or grilled salmon (1 serving = 3 oz.). or, you can take fish oil supplements, but make sure you talk to your doctor first.
- Soybeans and Soy Products
The soy products offer natural plant-based protein. This protein is great for people who suffer from high cholesterol levels. You should know that soy products may not lower the total cholesterol to a great extent, but it may lower the bad LDL cholesterol. Soy products are loaded with many healthy nutrients, such as: polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals and low levels of saturated fat. A recent study, published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, has discovered that eating 2 servings (30 grams) of soy products every day has a significant impact on serum lipoprotein risk factors for coronary heart disease.
This is why you should add more soybean, tofu, soy flour, edamame and enriched soy milk in your healthy diet. It will help you lower the LDL cholesterol levels significantly.
- Green Tea
This tea is also a great “tool” to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and reduce total cholesterol as well. This tea lowers the fasting serum total and the LDL cholesterol in adults. This super healthy tea can prevent plaque buildup in the arteries and reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Make sure you drink 3 cups of green tea every day. or, you can take green tea supplements as well, but first you need to consult your doctor.
- Olive oil
This super healthy oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fat, which is very useful in reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol. And we can also say that olive oil contains high amounts of Vitamin E – powerful antioxidant that is very useful for your heart health. You just have to use 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil every day, as an alternative for those less-healthy oils. Use it as a salad dressing, bread dip, or just add it in your favorite meals. But, you should be careful and don’t use too much, because it’s high in calories.
These delicious fruits are also a good source of monounsaturated fats, which we already said that are very useful in reducing the LDL cholesterol. The monounsaturated fats are also beneficial in raising the HDL cholesterol levels. Avocados contain high amounts of plant sterols – compounds that have cholesterol lowering benefits. Avocados are loaded with many healthy nutrients, such as: protein, fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin K and several minerals that are good for your overall health.
Garlic – one of the healthiest foods on the planet. This super healthy food can provide many health benefits, such as: reduces high cholesterol (LDL), prevents blood clots, reduces high blood pressure and protects against heart disease. A recent study, published in 2013 by the National Institute of Integrative Medicine has shown that garlic extract is an effective alternative to pharmaceutical blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications for many people.
You should eat at least 2-3 garlic cloves every day (try to eat them on empty stomach). Add fresh garlic in your meals, salads, soups and stews. Or, just take garlic supplements, but make sure you see your doctor first before you start using them.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids. These compounds prevent blood platelets from sticking together and keep the arteries unclogged. Dark chocolate is very useful for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A recent study, published in 2013, by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has found that the theobromine compound in dark chocolate is mainly responsible for its HDL cholesterol raising effect.
This delicious food can significantly reduce your cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol in the blood (HDL). This is why you should eat 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate (at least60% cocoa) every day.
Useful Tips and Tricks
- Don’t smoke
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise every day for 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Eat healthy
- Avoid fried or fatty foods and processed sugars
- Avoid foods that raise the LDL cholesterol: red meat, full-fat dairy products, egg yolks and processed foods
You should start eating these foods immediately, because as you can see they can reduce the LDL cholesterol, raise the HDL cholesterol and provide many other health benefits for you and your body. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share with your friends and family.